An Eye on Litterbugs

Remember Candid Camera? You might say Clarke County now has its own version of the show but this time it's no laughing matter.

To combat widespread illegal dumping, Clarke County has launched a new campaign called "Litter Free in 2003."

"We're trying to catch the litter bugs in action," said coordinator Leigh Moore.

As part of the effort the county has purchased two sensor cameras, which are being hidden at random sites.

"They are camouflaged. They make no sound," said Moore. "Most of the time we leave them up for about a week at a time and then we move them to another area."

One of the most common illegal dumping sites is located just off County Road 440 about six miles from Quitman.

Since purchasing the cameras officials say they have gotten some leads and are now in the process of contacting those responsible.

"If you're caught on camera we'll contact you and give you opportunities to clean it up," said Randy Cox of Clarke County's Emergency Management Agency. "If you refuse to clean it up then criminal charges will be filed."

Cox says those charges can amount up to $1,000 in fines and possible jail time.

Meanwhile, Quitman Mayor Tommy Blackburn says the bigger crime is how the litter problem affects everyone.

"If we're going to sell our county to people who come in to try to invest in our communities, bring jobs here, then we need to get our house in order to have it clean," said Blackburn.

With that county officials are urging litter bugs to beware!

"You never know when you'll be caught on camera!"